Below is a letter from the leader of the People’s National Party (PNP) to the Nation’s Prime Minister regarding actions his party took in deciding not to support an extension of the limited State of Emergency in two parishes.
As could be expected from Peter Phillips the letter was argumentative, tit-for-tat, and juvenile in spirit, while unduly combative and infantile in it’s lack of substance.
Phillips demonstrated that he and his party are fundamentally more preoccupied with the opinions of interest groups than he is with the realities on the ground.
It is important to note that though there is a 21% decline in homicides over the corresponding period last year the Opposition leader made no mention of the fewer dead and maimed Jamaicans.
Clearly, those most consequential elements are unimportant to the esteemed opposition leader.
What matters it seems is the incessant need to gain the populist high ground.
This letter demonstrates a couple of things which I shall heretofore try to highlight.
(1) That the Opposition PNP can only govern from behind, vis a vis, taking positions which are popular.
There is nothing wrong with consultations and gaining consensus, but good governance is not always about doing what people like.
Populist positions are not always right and they generally result in unsound policies.
Real leadership is taking unpopular well thought out positions which are in the national good for the long term.
(2) Consulting with one lawyer or a million lawyers from the very same UWI does not mean sound constitutional principles, they all groupthink.
One million so-called experts validating bad decisions results in a bad decision still.
(3) Probably most consequential is the fact that the political opposition lacks the maturity which is free of political opportunism and the potential for gain from cheap populist posturing to lead our sophisticated country deep into the 21st century.
The SOE is not a long-term crime-fighting tool. Nevertheless, over 300 fewer dead Jamaicans this year over the corresponding period last year, and a 21% reduction in homicides overall is nothing to scoff at.
That the PNP chose this hill to die on shows it’s lack of empathy and care, the number of people being killed is totally unimportant to the party and it did not even elicit a mention.
The PNP opted instead to advance the more politically expedient populist path which appeals to those living, the ever-resonant issue of “RIGHTS.”Unfortunately most Jamaicans who are focused on rights are unaware of their responsibilities as citizens.
The PNP has always weaponized that.